thumbnail Hello,

WC Qualification Europe

  • 15 November 2013
  • • 19:00
  • • Laugardalsvöllur, Reykjavík
  • Referee: Alberto Undiano Mallenco
  • • Attendance: 9768

Ladbrokes PaddyPower WilliamHill MyBet Tipico
Iceland 3.75 4.20 4.20 4.30 3.40
Draw 3.30 3.30 3.25 3.40 3.40
Croatia 2.00 1.95 1.95 1.90 2.10
Iceland - Croatia Preview: Hosts hoping to make history

Iceland - Croatia Preview: Hosts hoping to make history


Lars Lagerback will be able to draw on a wealth of international experience when he pits his wits against newcomer Niko Kovac, who will be leading his country for the first time

Iceland continue their bid to become the smallest nation in World Cup history when they welcome Croatia to Reykjavik on Friday.

Lars Lagerback, whose career has seen him manage at three World Cups already, will now be looking to give himself every chance of reaching a fourth with a play-off first-leg victory, having led Iceland to second place in Group E.

Croatia, meanwhile, got off to a flying start in Group A - winning five of their opening six fixtures - but tailed off dramatically in their final four matches and are without a competitive victory since a 2-1 win over Wales in March.

That poor form led to the dismissal of head coach Igor Stimac so former Croatia captain Niko Kovac will begin his interim tenure in charge of the national side in tense circumstances.

Both sides finished their group campaigns on 17 points - a distant second behind Switzerland and Belgium, respectively - and, aside from Denmark, who missed out on the play-offs, and France, who featured in a smaller group, Iceland and Croatia were the lowest-point-scoring runners-up of the group stage.

While Iceland are aiming to qualify for their first tournament, Croatia have missed out just once since their first entry in 1998.

The history books will make unhappy reading for home fans, with the Croats having won the two previous competitive encounters between the sides - scoring seven goals and conceding just one in reply.

Despite his side's lack of major tournament experience, Lagerback is hopeful that Iceland - whose high-profile players include Tottenham's Gylfi Sigurdsson and former Chelsea and Barcelona man Eidur Gudjohnsen - can upset the odds and make history.

"Of course it would be a huge disappointment if we didn't get to Brazil now that we are so close but, as far as I am concerned, we are in a win-win situation," he told the press. "There weren't many outside Iceland and, to be fair, on Iceland who expected us to get this far, even though the expectations have grown the further we have got in qualifying.

"But I hope people are not thinking that [it would be a huge disappointment to miss out]. I am certainly not thinking that way."

Iceland will look to Kolbeinn Sigthorsson to boost their chances of victory, the Ajax man having netted 13 goals in 19 games for his country. Meanwhile, defender Birkir Mar Saevarsson is suspended for the hosts for the first leg.

Croatia left-back Ivan Strinic is unavailable due to injury but the likes of Luka Modric, Mario Mandzukic and Niko Kranjcar will be available to Kovac.


Field Report
Reader's Predictions
Top 3 Predictions
Head to Head
World Cup Qualification 2014 (Europe) ‎(WCQE)‎ 19 Nov 2013 Croatia 2 - Iceland 0
  • Player Ratings
  • Match Report
  • Play by Play
  • Preview
World Cup Qualification 2014 (Europe) ‎(WCQE)‎ 15 Nov 2013 Iceland 0 - Croatia 0
  • Player Ratings
  • Match Report
  • Play by Play
  • Preview
Last Five Matches
Returns: Iceland £42.00 PaddyPower Sign up to Paddy Power for £250 in free bets
Returns: Draw £33.00 PaddyPower Sign up to Paddy Power for £250 in free bets
Returns: Croatia £19.50 PaddyPower Sign up to Paddy Power for £250 in free bets
Team News
Available Squads
1Stipe PletikosaGoalkeeper
5Vedran CorlukaDefender
11Darijo SrnaDefender
-Josip Simunic
20Ivan PerisicMidfielder
10Luka ModricMidfielder
-Ivo Ilicevic
7Ivan RakiticMidfielder
6Danijel PranjicDefender
17Mario MandzukicMidfielder
23Danijel SubasicGoalkeeper
-Lovre KalinicGoalkeeper
20Dejan LovrenDefender
13Gordon SchildenfeldDefender
-Sime VrsaljkoMidfielder
-Niko Kranjcar
14Milan BadeljMidfielder
-Mateo KovačićMidfielder
-Mate Maleš
18Ivica OlicStriker
-Ante RebićStriker
-Leon Benko

From the web